Several indications of increased activity cf 'normal' levels in the USA/Canada for the eta Aquarids. Twitter activity from reliable sources is flagging raised levels in the Netherlands & Belgium . The IMO 'Real time' charting shows elevated levels too. Things arent always 'steady as she goes', are they. Video is a great silent sentinel. Great work Alex. Hope William is running too ?
Following on from a previous post, do you have separate computers "running" each camera? I've been working on a home network to try an automate things as much as possible and I'd be interested to hear how you handle the data from three camera's.
I have three separate PCs, each with their own video capture card (Osprey 210). They are IBM M51 3.2GHz P4 HT models upgraded to 2GB RAM and an additional 250GB HDD. Under normal operation (resolution 762 x 576, 25 fps), the CPU load is in the region of 17 – 18%. The Operating System is Windows XP.
Keeping them cool during the summer months is a bit of a challenge and of course they do chew through the electricity. I believe that some people do have a couple of feeds into one PC but I'm not convinced the HDD could keep up if there were multiple simultaneous events eg at the peak of a particular shower.
Thanks for the info. The single set up I've been using for the past few years is similar, P4 but I've put extra memory into them all so that XP has it's full whack to play with. I'd not heard of that capture card before. I've often wondered if it's the capture product that's the root of many issues. I may give one of those a try in one of my "new" old machines.
I initially tried some inexpensive TV Cards and had various issues (specifically dropped frames) - the Osprey 210 was recommended to me by Robert Cobain who collaborates with Armagh Observatory over in Northern Ireland. Since I fitted them I've had no issues.
You can get new ones on EBay for around £30 delivered.
Bill - good luck with your PC capture card. As discussed, my USB device from Climax Digital has done a good job during the past year.
On the IMO website the Observers' Stats show rates averaging at 10 per hour, from which the IMO derive ZHRs of 120. As a rule of thumb, I divide their ZHRs by 10 to estimate the rates that I'm likely to see or video.
Have a look on the SonotaCo Bulletin Board for his guidelines for UFO Capture systems. When driving 2 cameras from 1 PC he recommends a dedicated HDD for each camera - and try not to share the same bus.
Len - William's cameras are always running and we should have some nice 2-station eta Aquarids. Any progress with the Elland node of the NEMETODE network?
The new VCAP will be put through it's paces this weekend. As I mentioned in another thread I've done dozens of tests with different capture devices and single/multiple capture configurations. It's just a matter of refinement to see what is the best for this bunch of old machines I've got. Its the engineer in me, maximum efficiency at all times.
It's all part of the fun. What surprises me is that on machines which are basically identical there can be slight differences in capture performance. An interesting example is one where the overscan lines around the image were blue. The same card in another "identical" machine were the usual black. No matter what I did I couldn't change the blue outline. Very odd.
A couple of weekends ago I got some scrap 4 inch pipe to fabricate compact external enclosures. I've managed to source some anti-reflection coated windows. My tests indicate that I lose a magnitude or so between no glass (camera on window mount) and the standard 4mm float glass I put in the attic windows after one was damaged in a storm over winter. Visually there is little difference but the camera images show the situation clearly.